Is Jesse a Burkean?

Burke Jesse 2

Jesse Norman, Tory MP and author of Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician, Prophet, Edmund Burke: The Visionary Who Invented Modern Politics, and Edmund Burke: The First Conservative, has announced on his blog that he will be ducking the EU question. Complaining that “I am very far from expert in this area, many aspects of which are mind-bogglingly complex”, Norman has decided that publicly backing one side over another would be bad form. He has instead said that he will “try to pose questions and provide facts” for his constituents.

A recent ComRes poll showed 74% of the public believe their MP should come out for their constituents’ views, with only 5% wanting their representatives to back the party leadership. Norman appears to pandering to this populist demand.

What would his hero, Edmund Burke, say about MPs avoiding making decisions? Famously Burke said “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” It seems Norman disagrees with his hero…


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